I met artist, gallerist and collector Brenda Baron out of mere serendipity: she had sent an email to Artparasites after reading my interview with Dickson Schneider – the artist and professor who came to Berlin to give artworks away – to tell us that she, too, had his work in her collection. Living an ocean apart in Long Branch, New Jersey, I sought a Skype conversation with her – something Baron had never done before. “I’m so excited! I’ve never done this before!” were her first words. Truthfully, Skype still amuses me as well (and this is not a sponsored article – though I'm super open for that, Microsoft!) and I’m happy the feeling was mutual. It was quite nice to have a personal virtual tour of Baron's art gallery and collection, which, as I would come to find out, share the same space since Hurricane Sandy.
Destruction And Rebirth
After the catastrophe left behind by the Hurricane, Baron decided to move from her house to a new apartment. The changes brought about by the event were not only physical, she reflects: “Isn’t it odd sometimes how things happen out of a tragedy and you go on to a new being? I let go of what I thought I wanted to do. After Sandy, for so many people it had to be a new beginning; they didn’t have a choice. You see them transforming because they want to survive; they are survivors.”
Being an artist for over twenty years, Baron’s personal life is as connected to her production as it is to her collection. At some point in her life, she felt a need to express herself in a different way. She tells me, “Now I want to devote my next projects as an artist to contemporary abstract art and just let go. I’m at a point that I don’t want to be so tight with my work. I’m just going to let it happen. In addition, the art that I have fallen in love with is also that same type of work. Just so free; so beautiful.”
What Goes Around Comes Around
My biggest question was: how did she meet Dickson Schneider? As I had suspected, they met last December at Art Basel in Miami Beach where Schneider had presented his Free Art Project. "Isn’t it funny, how things come? Again, letting go of things; it’s not only the money. We all love money and we all want money. But he had a large basket of his artwork and this one gentleman said go pick something, pick what you want; he is giving artwork away. Wow, I thought that was just the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. I have it on the wall, do you want to see it?” Of course I wanted to see it, I was delighted she was so interested in showing me around.
She continued about her experience at the art fair: “I met so many amazing artists—going up an elevator and going down the hallway—and meeting and talking to these incredible artists, I fell in love in particular with Nava Waxman.”
“Are you getting a glare?”
“I can see it, it’s beautiful! I love the colors!”
“I love her, I love her, I love her! And this is the type of work that I’m absolutely after. I don’t want to see buildings or flowers – I’m getting a little snoody in my selection of art, finally.”
I couldn’t help telling her about the similarities I was noticing in my latest interviews: Schneider’s free art project, Mehmet Ali Uysal’s casual way of living and now her, so honest and passionate about her collection. Was I the only one who had the impression art collectors were cold and emotionless people? I could go on talking about Brenda Barons’ free spirit but, instead, I’ll end this story with a quote by Baron that has everything to do with this serendipitous moment at Artparasites: “So Dickson Schneider led me to you; he led me to this interview. Now if that’s not a creative process, I don’t know what is.”
Article by Bel Borst